Your child may be naturally confident or shy but having good social skills goes far beyond those two factors. Well-developed social skills are more bound up in having empathy for others than we might imagine. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with being shy or quiet and it’s important to remember that not everyone can be loud or confident and also that those attributes don’t always add up to having good social skills.
What matters is that your child learns to speak up when they need to and that they have the ability to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. Being able to think about others and how they might be feeling is a great skill when it comes to the playground and in later life too. Here are some tips from a preparatory school in Richmond to help your child with their social skills.
What to do if your child is struggling to socialise
This is heart-breaking for parents to witness. So much of what we expect to see in a happy child is bound up in their friendships. Images of happy kids playing together, of sleepovers and parties are always present but if your child doesn’t find socialising easy, then they may not be part of these things.
The important point to remember is that it’s actually very common for children to struggle socially at some point during their school lives. What matters is that you work out why they’re struggling and help them over the hurdle as soon as possible. Children don’t always want to talk about why they are struggling socially – they’re all too aware that for their parents, there’s some emotion bound up in their social success. However, if you know they are struggling, a good place to begin is with their teacher. Make an appointment to talk to your child’s teacher. Teachers can offer valuable insight into a side of your child that you might not always see at home.
Helping your child overcome shyness
Shyness can hold children back if it stops them from joining in discussions in the classroom or games in the playground. Encourage your child to talk about their difficulties. Talk to them about the things they find hard – maybe they don’t like raising their hand in the classroom to answer questions or they feel afraid to ask if they can join in a game. Once they have aired their fears, this will sometimes be enough to help them move on from them and join in more.
Sometimes children struggle socially due to a lack of understanding. Make sure your child understands the idea of thinking before you speak – and knows the difference between sharing your achievements and bragging.
Being too bossy is another common problem for some children. These children can become overexcited and make too many demands on their friends. Help your child to understand the difference between making a suggestion and being bossy. Keep an open dialogue with your child’s teacher and make sure your child knows that they can invite their classmates’ home for tea after school.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post